It’s bathtime for the the kiddos tonight. There’s a loud pop and I turn to see the girl, my dear daughter, with a look of utter despair upon her beautiful little face. She tries to put the words together, to try to figure out what horror has just visited her and then collapses to the floor, sobbing inconsolably.
Her balloon popped.
And she mourned this thing. Holding the little pieces in her hands she implored me, “Can you fix it, Daddy?”
To an adult, it is just a balloon. One spent balloon in an constant parade of balloons that come into life, pop and then are thrown away. But to a kid, ah. It is something quite different. Not the balloon itself (though this thing that can be shaped into a snake or a scepter or a dog is fantastic to behold), but in how they feel so deeply. They’ve not yet been hardened to life’s fickle ways, not yet learned that joys are so often fleeting. No, they feel it, they feel the loss. They feel it all.
She lay there sobbing over this balloon, and as I tried to comfort her I couldn’t help but feel a little admiration and, yes, even a tinge of envy, for this ability kids have to see everything anew, wonder in amazement, and care so profoundly. Even for a balloon.
There’s a beauty in that.